Rayan Ait-Nouri transfer: Three-horse race between Premier League title challengers

Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City are set to renew their title rivalry in this summer’s transfer window, as the high-flying trio compete for Wolves wing-back Rayan Ait-Nouri.

Rayan Aït-Nouri has been superb in 2023/24 – Photo by Icon Sport

Rayan Ait-Nouri transfer: Catching the eye

When they lost renowned manager Julen Lopetegui, many predicted doom for Wolverhampton Wanderers. But with the Old Gold now sitting firmly in mid-table, the top clubs have started circling around their top performers.

Rayan Ait-Nouri has been particularly impressive, with consistent marauding displays from left-back and left-wing-back. The 22-year-old is a superb carrier of the ball and is deceptively good at beating his opposing marker one-on-one.

The Algerian has the absolute trust of Gary O’Neil, and has a licence to roam, even popping up on the other wing. Ait-Nouri has even developed an eye for goal in recent weeks, with two goals in his last five appearances.

Rayan Ait-Nouri transfer: Where does he fit best?

At Liverpool, Ait-Nouri would be considered a long-term successor to Andy Robertson. The Scot is still an excellent player, but at 30 is starting to show the wear and tear of his high-flying role, missing 33 games through injury in the last two seasons. 

Andy Robertson has struggled with injury – Photo by Icon Sport

Ait-Nouri's ability to play both as a wing-back and full-back would make him useful to whichever manager the Reds end up hiring, from Ruben Amorim to Roberto de Zerbi.

Kostas Tsimikas is a very capable deputy, but is not fancied to take the reins full-time.

Arsenal are reportedly looking for a new left-back. The Gunners have a plethora of options at left-back, but none have nailed down the spot the way Benjamin White has the right-back spot.

Ait-Nouri would offer a new profile with his overlaps and mazy runs from deep. One potential beneficiary of this could be Gabriel Martinelli, who has at times cut an isolated figure on the left.

Oleksandr Zinchenko has not been at the same level this season – Photo by Icon Sport

The Wolves man has the intelligence and skill to take part in the dizzying rotations Arteta’s men use to break down opposition defences.

Manchester City were interested in a teenage Ait-Nouri while he was at Angers, and will still have the Algerian on their radar.

Similarly to Arsenal, Ait-Nouri would represent a novel profile to the Citizens, offering more attacking threat than the centre-back-cum-full-back types Pep Guardiola has fielded in the last two seasons.

William Evans is a football and politics fanatic. A first-class graduate of UEA's Broadcast and Digital Journalism MA course, he also achieved a first class degree in politics and media studies during his time at UEA.